That pesky fish from yesterday’s post turned into this the following day:

fried pampano with asparagus, 240baon

I flaked the meat and fried it some more in olive oil, seasoned it more S&P and parsley and added some asparagus tips to make it even healthier. I finished everything on this plate and I ate some rice with it too.
This is a backlog post that I kept forgetting to write. I cooked this last month when I was craving for fish.

pampano with parsley and bacon bits, 240baon

This is pampano, a flat fish cooked in butter, olive oil, parsley and topped with bacon bits. This fish is so hard to cook if you don’t have a non-stick pan. The trick with cooking fish is you don’t bother it. When it’s ready to be flipped, that’s the time when it budges. This is a delicious meaty fish but I don’t think I will be cooking this any time soon as I really had a hard time keeping it together.

I served this with some baked eggplants topped with mozzarella cheese which MB dipped in my homemade salsa.

baked eggplants with mozarella, 240baon

homemade salsa, 240baon

This is a good dinner that I won’t be making any time soon.
Regulars of this blog know that I slave away in the kitchen during Christmas and New Year. This year was no different although I had help from my sister, grandma and cousin. We each had our own menu in mind and we don’t really care if the food one cooks goes with another’s menu. Christmas or New Year’s table is always a smorgasbord of different things. Here’s what I cooked:

glazed ham, 240baon

MB brought home a fiesta ham from the office so I glazed that and put it in the oven. I really like this Purefood’s Fiesta Ham because it tasted like pork and had the texture of real pork unlike some other hams that taste and look like luncheon meat.

roasted chicken, 240baon

I also made this roasted chicken stuffed with lemons, onions, garlic and bay leaves. Those are bacon strips on top. They will keep the chicken moist as long as you continuously baste the chicken all throughout its 2.5-hour cooking time. I didn’t. I only basted it once or twice because I was sooooo exhausted already just from prepping. I roasted 2 chickens. If you are going to do this and a million other dishes, ask someone to help you with the prep work. You can also use the bacon strips for the gravy. I didn’t have the ingredients and patience to make the gravy so I served this with store bought canned cranberry sauce. The outside of the chicken was massaged with a mixture of butter, EVOO, chopped parsley, crushed garlic, S&P of course, lemon juice, lemon zest and some bay leaves. I also put this mixture just under the skin. Everyone loved this including the young ones. I kept hearing my mom asking to give her some more chicken. = )

roasted potatoes with turmeric and chili, 240baon

I also roasted some potatoes to go with the chicken. This has turmeric and chili. This is soooo good. MB loved it, mom loved it. Everyone was gushing about it during dinner. I used about 6 huge potatoes and cut them up into wedges. At the end of the night, I was left with just about 1.5 potatoes. I packed them for MB’s office lunch. He kept asking for it after Christmas.

I also made some chicken macaroni salad which was not served during the dinner. I guess grandma kept it for herself. We have some at home too. Here’s what the rest of the family cooked:

barbecue, corn and carrots, 240baon

Grandma made some very tender pork barbecues. They were really so soft it’s like eating chicken. My sister made the lumpiang shanghai mix and my cousin fried them. Oh, the corn and carrots was my idea but I was too exhausted to cook so I gave the ingredients to my cousin and asked her to cook it since it was her favorite.

spaghetti and lumpiang shanghai, 240baon

There’s the spaghetti which is a staple on the Christmas table. Grandma cooked this as well.

paella, menudillo, 240baon

That’s a bowl of paella also from Grandma and some menudillo from my sister. These two are also staples on the Christmas table. I can’t believe how much food Grandma cooked this year and she’s 83! Yes, my grandma is a chef, baker, she knows how to sew beautiful dresses and make beautiful elegant cakes, she can crochet and knit, she can make beautiful flower arrangements, etc. etc. In short, my grandmother is a rockstar!

For dessert, they had ice cream. I didn’t eat because I’m lactose intolerant. I also brought over some Lotte Pepero Almond and Chocolate sticks. I brought 3 boxes and they were wiped out in less than 5 minutes. I think there was also some fruit salad.

lotte pepero almond, 240baon

New Year’s dinner is coming and this time I decided to do some very simple dishes so that I can chill out on the first day of the New Year. What did you have for Christmas?
I have a lot of awesome lunches and most of them happen at home. Here’s another one:

my awesome lunch, 240baon

This is the leftover homemade burger patty smothered with sour cream. Those are Frenchies Zesty fries and a Caesar salad. I also put some homemade salsa on the burger;

homemade salsa, 240baon

The burger plus the sour cream plus the salsa were wonderful! Just typing about it is making my mouth water. I will definitely try putting this in a bun next time.

I finished this meal with a glass of cranberry juice:

lakewood organics cranberry juice, 240baon

This is from Healthy Options and it’s very expensive at Php179 for a small bottle. This is good for 2 servings (for me). If you are experiencing frequent UTI’s, drink cranberry juice. See the benefits:

cranberry juice benefits, 240baon

This was delicious! I will buy more, rather I will ask MB to buy me more  = )
This is the other flavor that I was telling you about:

hwa tai u-lite cheese crackers, 240baon

This is cheese and I can say that I really like this! It reminds me of Fita but lighter.

u-lite cheese crackers, 240boan

One pack is only Php14. It’s a good snack to bring in your purse in case you find yourself stuck in traffic with a growling stomach. Never wait until you are hungry to eat. Pace yourself so that your stomach always has something in it. You will overeat if you wait until you are hungry and that can make you fat.

This is also a good snack for kids as it’s not salty and not too sweet. There is just a subtle hint of cheese that’s perfect for me.
I got a pack of Santis Farmer’s Meatloaf at Landmark for Php97.

santis farmer's meatloaf, 240baon

I had it for breakfast one day and wasn’t impressed by it. It didn’t taste like meatloaf, it tasted like ham. Or maybe that’s because I fried it. I know you can eat meat straight off the deli but my stomach just can’t handle it so I cook deli food again. I had this with an egg and some fried rice and it was a boring meal. I think I will try putting this in a sandwich next time.
homemade burgers, buttered asparagus and roasted potatoes with turmeric, 240baon

MB had their Christmas party last week and so I found myself having dinner alone. I whipped up something that I know MB would not eat without rice and this was the result.

These are homemade burger patties. I didn’t fuss with the ingredients – just a few spices and an egg but I was really surprised that it was flavorful. I slathered some sour cream on the patty and it was good to go. I also cooked some asparagus in butter, nothing fancy there too. The real treat were these roasted potatoes. This is a recipe from Chef Gordon Ramsay and I have to say that the 40-minute oven time was well worth it! It was so delicious! I roasted 3 normal-sized potatoes and I finished them all! It was sooo good that I ignored the other burger patty. I am definitely making this again! I’m not sure if I can put this on the Christmas table as not everyone in my family is a huge fan of turmeric, just me and MB but I think my sister and grandma would enjoy this. Anyway, if they don’t eat it, more for me!
crunchy, cheesy tortillas, 240baon

I didn’t know what to have for breakfast last Saturday (a week ago) so I opened the ref and found my bag of tortillas and mozzarella. I was too lazy to prepare breakfast so I smothered 2 tortillas with mozzarella and put them in the oven at 200 degrees for around 5 minutes. I got bored waiting so I made another blueberry smoothie (which you can find in the archives). The tortilla came out crunchy and went perfectly with the hot, gooey cheese. Yum!
In my last post, you’ve seen the best chicken adobo I’ve ever made. Now, here’s the best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever made:

the best chicken noodle soup I've ever made, 240baon

There’s soup at the bottom of the container. I just went overboard with the fusilli. This soup only has chicken, carrots, celery and pasta but it was packed with flavor.My secret? Chicken hot pot broth. Just do a simple search in my blog and you will see what I’m talking about. From now on, I will make my sopas this way.
the best chicken adobo I've ever cooked, 240baon

I just wanted to share with you a photo of the best chicken adobo I’ve ever made. I suck at cooking Filipino dishes and I was really surprised how this dish turned out. Even MB agreed that this is my best adobo yet.

hwa tai u-lite crackers, 240baon

To avoid getting a very low blood sugar, I make sure to snack on crackers in between meals and during odd hours. I snacked on Sky Flakes then Magic Flakes. I am almost done with my pack of Magic Flakes and I am looking  for something different. I went grocery shopping with mom and found this pack of crackers. It’s made in Malaysia. I got two flavors. I will blog about the other one when I open it.

I ate about 3 crackers then decided that I didn’t like it so I gave the rest to my babies and they finished the whole lot! Oh, snacking on soda crackers can also help if you constantly suffer from gas (kabag) or if you are pregnant and suffer from pregnancy sickness.
Refusing to give up crunchy snacks while maintaining a good diet, I headed to Healthy Options to raid their shelves. I found this:

all natural barbecue baked fries, 240baon

The texture is nice. It’s crunchy but I didn’t like the flavor. It was too sour for my taste. It also lacked a bit of salt. Not too much, just a little bit more would have brought out the flavor of the barbecue. This costs around 50 to 75 pesos at Healthy Options. There are other flavors that you might want to try. I won’t buy this again because I don’t like cheesy snacks and I think the other flavor is cheese.
My favorite soup is pumpkin soup. My favorite used to be the one from Almon Marina but I don’t know what happened and the last time I ordered it, it was terrible. When I went out with my best friend a few weeks back, we had meryenda at Cibo. I ordered some spinach dip and pumpkin soup.

cibo pumpkin soup, 240baon

If you are sick or tired, drink soup. It will help your body heal faster and will rejuvenate you. There is a reason why chicken soup is called the remedy for the common cold. Soup is easy to eat and easy to digest, perfect for the ailing body. I know when I’m feeling under the weather when I start looking for soup. That day when I ordered this, I was feeling tired so I immediately ordered soup.

This pumpkin soup is delicious! I just didn’t like the piece of bread (not a crouton, it was too soft) as it became mushy in the hot soup. I tried to eat it fast but couldn’t as it was very hot so it became a mushy glob in my soup. I love the flavor, it’s not too salty and not too sweet. My baby goddaughter loved it too. I gave her a few tastes and she really loved it. This soup plus a couple of bread with spinach dip definitely hit the spot.
Now that I’m not too busy in the mornings, I have the time to cook some hearty breakfast for myself. I bought a can of Portuguese sardines at Landmark. The brand is Porthos. It’s really good. I have to warn you though. It’s bland. The tomato sauce does not have salt in it so you have to season it. I’m sorry but I love sardines from Spain and Portugal more than our local sardines. Don’t hate me for not supporting our local products. It’s just that I get turned off by the local canned sardines. The sardines usually still have their guts in them and that affects the taste of the sauce. It has a taste that I can’t describe but it’s something nasty to me. Imported sardines on the other hand, are clean except for the soft bone in the middle. The flavors are cleaner.

I opened the can on Tuesday morning and ate a few filets with garlic rice. I flavored it with Maggi Savor Calamansi. I had some leftovers and made this for breakfast the next day:

portuguese sardine fried rice, 240baon

This is fried rice that has scrambled eggs and flaked sardines. I used the remaining tomato sauce to coat the rice. Season with salt and pepper or Knorr Seasoning or in my case, Maggi Savor Calamansi. This is a good hearty breakfast to start your day.
and drumsticks!

korean chicken wings and drumsticks, 240baon

My mom and I went grocery shopping last Monday. I am having a hard time planning our menus as I am getting tired of the usual dishes that I cook. I saw a pack of McCormick Korean Bulgogi Chicken Mix and got intrigued. I was imagining what it would taste like and when I was frying the chicken, it hit me! Bonchon Chicken! It’s gotta be that!

Anyway, the pack comes with a batter that you need to dilute in 1/4 cup water. You dip the chicken in batter then fry them. After frying, put them in a container and pour the sauce and shake. You now have Korean fried chicken!

It does not taste like Bonchon but it tastes really good. I loved it so much that I ate 3 wings. MB liked it too but the drumsticks were still raw in the middle and you know that raw chicken is poisonous. So what I did was fillet the chicken, set aside the skin because that’s where all the flavor is and then fried the meat again. I packed the chicken for MB’s lunch the next day.

I got the flavoring at Landmark but it’s probably available in your favorite supermarket.
If you are on a diet or you just want to have enough energy to tackle your day, you should not skip on snacking. Here are my recently discovered healthy snacks.

hummus chips, 240baon

Not all chips are created equal. The key is moderation and reading the label. These are hummus chips flavored with sea salt. Hummus is made from chickpeas. I love hummus! Whenever we eat at Persian grills, I always order hummus and an extra serving of pita. I eat them all. MB does not like hummus. Anyway, I saw this bag at Rustan’s Supermarket and I got excited.

The chips look like shells. They are very crunchy and taste really good. I don’t think they taste like hummus at all but they do taste like chickpeas. It’s not too salty and does not have artificial flavorings, msg, etc. The chips are also baked, if I’m not mistaken. Now, if you are used to salty, cheesy snacks, you might want to skip this. Like Hummus, this takes a lot of getting used to.

I had this for my morning snack with this juice:

apple and eve organic grape juice, 240baon

This is from Healthy Options. I think one small tetra brick costs Php59. My favorite juice is grape and this one tastes sooooo good! I just bought a bottle of Welch’s but when I finish that, I’m coming back for more of this juice.

Again, with these kinds of snacks, moderation is key. I ate about a handful of chips and finished the juice and that lasted me until lunch. I wake up early, have breakfast early and start working early so by the time the clock ticks 9, I'm hungry already. If you’re like me, snacking is your best friend to last you the day.
Whenever my sugar gets low, I get dizzy. My doctor checked my blood sugar for problems with diabetes and stuff but it was normal. I guess that’s just how my body is. Because of this, I stock up on hard candies. I have Chupa Chups at home to suck on while working. I don’t want to suck on a lollipop when I’m out in the mall or running some errands so my mom suggested that we look for some hard candies at Marks and Spencer. We found this:

marks and spencer's fruit sherbets, 240baon

I love this because the candies are orange, lime, etc. flavored. I don’t like super sweet candies. I want them to have a bit of tang so this is perfect for me. One candy is huge! It takes some time to finish off one bar. The middle part becomes really brittle after a while and if you’re not careful, you can get your gums and palate scratched as what happened to MB.

One bag costs Php140 and since it’s Christmas, you can ask M&S to pack your purchases as gifts. = )
I went out to run some errands and do some shopping with Mom last Monday. When we got home, I needed some snack to refuel me as I still had some paperwork to tackle. I whipped this up in under 10 minutes:

tortilla with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, 240baon

This is a tortilla that I covered with mozzarella and topped with dried basil (use fresh if you have any) and sliced tomatoes. I didn’t season it with salt and pepper anymore. This snack is great but it would be awesome with sun dried tomatoes. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts and the tortilla becomes a bit crisp. Enjoy with a cold beverage.
mixed veggies with black beans, 240baon

For lack of an English term, I’m a little comme ci, comme ca with this dish. It tastes fine but it’s missing something and I don’t know what that something is.

This is a combination of carrots, cabbage, baby corn, broccoli, black beans and shrimps. The seasoning is just soy sauce, salt and pepper. The black beans were already salty. You can use chicken too. I think it will go well. MB liked it for dinner and packed some for lunch.

Maybe some oyster sauce will make a difference? I don’t know.
I’m confused. The name is Hershey’s Kisses. If it’s just one piece, do we call it a Kiss? = )

hershey's kisses, 240baon

I just wanted to share this giant Hershey’s Kisses with your guys. I got this in Singapore for 5 SGD.

giant kisses, bitsandtreats

I bought a bunch for family and friends and kept some for MB and I.

giant hershey's kisses, 240baon

It tastes the same but it’s just really humongous compared to the regular Kisses. It took a while for me to finish this whole thing. Well, actually, I didn’t finish it. What I do is I take a couple of bites then keep it. Then take it out again, bite and then keep it. MB saw this one night and finished it. What I finished in 3 sittings, he finished in one.

If you are ever in Singapore and looking for cool pasalubongs, check out the Hershey’s factory. They have a lot of cool items there. donuts, 240baon

Even though J.Co has been open for a few months now, the lines are still crazy in their Greenbelt branch. It was only a few Saturdays ago that MB decided to brave the lines and get several boxes of donuts to be sent to the province. One of the relatives was in town so we decided to give him 2 boxes to take home as pasalubong.

When I say crazy lines, I mean a 1 1/2 hour wait. I told MB that I should have gone and watched Breaking Dawn 2 and I will just be in time to meet him at the finish line when the movie finishes. The wait was that long. I even took a nap inside the café as I was already hungry making my sugar low, making me sleepy and dizzy.

Is it worth the wait? Yes and no. First of all, this is my favorite among the 3 waves of donut brands that hit Manila, the first two being Go Nuts Donuts and Krispy Kreme. Go Nuts is a notch higher than Dunkin in my opinion. Krispy Kreme is better but it tastes too much of yeast to me. Plus the fact that it’s too sweet. J.Co donuts, however, are not too sweet and the dough does not taste like yeast. I love that donut with the cherry topping. Sorry, I lost the donut brochure where all the flavors are identified. The marbled donut has peanut butter inside. The one on the left has rice crispies. I loved all the chocolate donuts and the green tea flavored one. Surprisingly, MB loved the green tea donut too. If I remember it correctly, a dozen donuts cost Php350. One piece is Php42. If you are going there, I suggest that you buy at least a dozen. That way, you get to taste all the flavors and the waiting time will be worth it.

It’s still just a donut so no, we will not line up for at least an hour to buy a box again. We can wait until the crowds thin out to get another box. Donuts are not exactly healthy so it’s a good snack every once in a blue moon. What’s your experience with J.Co donuts?
fried pampano, 240baon

This is fried pampano. I’m sorry, I don’t know the English term for pampano but it looks like a flat fish. I sliced the fish into small pieces then I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper and dredged it in cornstarch then fried it. The result were these wonderfully crisp pieces of fish. The sauce to accompany this is a combination of soy sauce, Pinakurat vinegar (or regular vinegar) with a bit of brown sugar. I got this idea from a Japanese cooking show. We ate this for dinner one night with this:

stir fried ampalaya, 240baon

This is stir fried ampalaya (bitter gourd). It has shrimps, garlic, onions, tomatoes and red bell peppers. It has about 1/4 cup of water and is seasoned with salt, pepper and Knorr seasoning. I think it also has a bit of Maggi Magic Sarap.

I love the fried fish but I loved this dish even more. I only know 2 ways to cook bitter gourd and that is with pinakbet or cooked with eggs. This is a great addition to my ampalaya repertoire. This combination of viands is also great for lunch boxes. I packed this for MB and sure enough, his lunch box was clean when he got home.
tao kai noi, 240baon

Once in a while, I get hit by a craving for Japanese snacks. Nori or seaweed is one of those snacks that I crave for every now and then. Japanese stores usually carry big bags of nori. I don’t buy them because the problem with nori is, once you open the bag, the nori slowly loses its crunch. Plus, one big bag of nori isn’t exactly cheap.

Tao Kae Noi is a nori snack made in Thailand. The maker actually has a very interesting story behind him. Tao Kae Noi is the brainchild of a young Thai billionaire. It’s a very long story that can wait for another time. Anyway, this product is really good. If you like seaweed, you will definitely like Tao Kae Noi. It’s crunchy, seasoned just right and one bag fills you up. Actually, I couldn't finish one bag. I kept looking for rice every time I bit into a piece. I think this snack would go well as a rice topping aside from a snack. One bag is Php42 and available in most supermarkets.
smartfood popcorn white cheddar, 240baon

Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks that you can eat, well, granted that you cooked it in olive oil and you used sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt. Popcorn in its purest form is a very healthy snack.

I love popcorn. When I was a teenager, I used to finish one big bag from Taters all by myself. My mom went to S&R and got this bag of popcorn for pasalubong.
As you can see, the flavor is white cheddar. I like white cheddar better than cheese because it’s less salty. It also does not sting my tongue. Do you know that feeling when you first put sharp cheese into your mouth? It stings your tongue right? That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like cheese that much. It’s like sucking on a lemon.

This Smartfood Popcorn is soooo good. I didn’t finish the bag right away but I sealed the bag using just plain old scotch tape and the popcorn was still crunchy even after a few days. Love the taste, the texture and the packaging. It’s not too salty. It has just the right amount of flavor. This product is from Lay’s, by the way.

If you want a healthy snack, try a bag of popcorn.
This is what I had for breakfast today:

grilled cheese sandwich, 240bao
Grilled cheese toast and

blueberry smoothie, 240baon

a glass of blueberry smoothie.

The bread is from French Baker which MB bought yesterday. It has nuts and oats. I love brown bread. I stay away from white bread as much as I can. I just slathered some butter on the toast and set in on a warm grill. When the butter melted, I topped the toast with some grated quick melt cheese et voila!

blueberry smoothie glass, 240baon

The blueberry smoothie is something I had been planning to make for a few weeks now. I haven’t been well the past few weeks and so I didn’t have the strength to go to the kitchen and do some cooking. I was feeling better this morning so I said that I would finally fix me some breakfast.

For the smoothie, I used a tub of plain yogurt, half a cup of frozen blueberries (which mom got at S&R) and honey. At the last moment, I decided to add some ice cubes. I used our food processor to make this smoothie as I did not want to take the blender out of the box and set it up. I was feeling strong but not that strong.

This was a wonderful breakfast and I’m sure it will keep me full until lunch time. Try the smoothie to boost your energy. If you don’t have time to prepare/eat breakfast, make this in the morning and put it in your water bottle and you can drink it while in the car or taking a commute. By the time you get to the office, you are ready for the day’s work.
julie's oat 25, 240baon

My mom went to S&R last week and bought some goodies for me. These are strawberry-oat cookies.

julie's oat 25 packet, 240baon

The cookies come in packets of 3.

julie's oat and strawberry cookie, 240baon

You can hardly see the real strawberry bits from the outside but once you bite into it, they’re there.

This is a good healthy snack that can tide you over until the next meal. Just be sure to have a glass of water or drink when you eat this. The oats tend to get stuck on my throat. The first time I ate this, I almost had a sore throat. Some oats “scraped” (that’s how it felt) my throat and it was painful to swallow. I got so paranoid and drank lots of water to wash it down. I don’t like having sore throat as it takes so long for me to recover. Good thing I felt better the next day. So now, every time I eat this, I chew slowly and thoroughly and follow up with a gulp of water. Don’t give this to small kids as they might choke on the oats and the strawberry bits.

It’s not too sweet so it’s a perfect snack for me. The cookies are crunchy and I have no problems finishing the 3 pieces in a packet. I’m not a huge fan of sweets. When I eat Chips Ahoy, I only eat 2 pieces.

I don’t know how much this costs but if you are looking for a good snack for you or your bigger kids, check this out the next time you are in S&R.
I saw this episode of Mad Hungry where these dishes were featured so I decided to recreate them for dinner.

spinach pasta with homemade sauce, 240baon

This is spinach pasta with homemade sauce. I don’t like using tomato sauce for my pasta unless it’s a Filipino-style spaghetti that MB requested. I used canned tomatoes to make my sauces.

cornmeal breaded chicken, 240baon

This is breaded chicken breast fillets. I used cornmeal for the breading. I fried this then baked it for 10 minutes to ensure that it’s cooked through.

sauteed spinach, 240baon

And finally, some sauteed spinach. This is a simple dish. I just cooked the spinach and when they were wilted, I tossed them in EVOO and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

This was a filling dinner indeed.
kiwi, hard boiled eggs, sweet potato home fries, 240baon

This is another healthy breakfast option for all you health-conscious folks out there. I don’t eat the egg whites so I stuck with the hard boiled yolks. Those white things are sweet potato home fries and of course, some kiwi slices. Finish this with a glass of orange juice and you are ready to face the day.